BCHM 1014 Research Resources - Biochemistry FYE: Creating a Search (Keywords)

Research resources, tools, and library services related to Biochemistry research.

Developing Searches

Get better results and be most efficient by using a keyword search formatted like the one below to search most research databases for sources on a particular topic. (Most databases work best if you enter keywords, rather than entire sentences or questions.)  

(Try our Search Strategy Builder for an easy way to build keyword searches with the format shown below!)  

For example, if your research question was:

How does fructose consumption relate to insulin resistance in children?

Then you might create a search that looks something like this:

fructose AND "insulin resistance" AND children

If you don't find anything with that search, try adding synonyms and / or using some special characters for database power searching, like the * symbol at the end of a word root to get all forms of that word:

(fructose OR "fruit sugar") AND "insulin resistance" AND child*

After you review your search results, you may see terms that you can add to your search, like "metabolic syndrome"

(fructose OR "fruit sugar") AND ("insulin resistance" OR "metabolic syndrome") AND child*

Power searching tips:

*  Truncation:  Adding a truncation symbol, usually the asterisk (*) symbol, to the end of a word beginning, allows the retrieval of all endings for the specified base word or word start. For example, child* would retrieve records with children, childish, and every other word that begins with the root word "child."  This will broaden your search (get more results with this keyword).

" "  Phrase Searching: Adding quotation marks around a phrase, such as "physical activity" will tell the database to search for these exact words together in this order, rather than separately. *This will narrow your search (get you less results), so keep that in mind, but in some cases it's the best way to find results with a specific phrase of interest - especially when the words in that phrase are common on their own (like physical and activity).

Using Keywords

Thanks to our friends at Kimbel Library at Coastal Carolina University for creating this great video on selecting the right number of keywords to use in a search!

Health, Life Sciences, & Scholarly Communication Librarian

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